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Elyria Council approves CIC loan with 30-day delay

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ELYRIA — City Council voted Monday to donate $500,000 to the city’s Community Improvement Corporation, but the transfer comes with a 30-day delay.

The legislation to approve the donation was presented as an emergency, meaning it would have taken effective immediately upon passage if enough Council members voted in agreement. However, with Councilwoman Donna Mitchell, D-6th Ward, absent from Monday’s meeting and Councilmen Mark Craig, I-4th Ward, and Councilman Marcus Madison, D-5th Ward, voting against the ordinance, the emergency provision did not have enough support.

Now, Finance Director Ted Pileski will have to wait 30-days before he can make the transfer to the quasi-public entity. The CIC will then possibly loan the money to a company looking to relocate its headquarters inside the former Macy’s department store.

The loan will serve as gap financing in a relocation project that includes a more than $3 million investment on the part of the company, which also guarantees 22 jobs over the next three years.

Mayor Holly Brinda said she wanted the legislation to move through quickly because the deal between Macy’s and the business could fall through if it does not close by the end of the year.

“If all the parts and pieces are not in place, the deal will fall apart,” she said. “We don’t want that to happen.”

Brinda called the project a catalytic one that could potentially influence more development around the mall. And although it could be considered a risk to loan money in an economic development effort, she urged Council to see it as a calculated risk.

Still, Craig argued there was enough time to vet the idea of turning over city funds to an entity controlled by fewer city officials. He said he wanted the legislation to go through a full three reads before Council voted.

Councilman Jack Baird, R-at large, serves on the CIC board. He said he understood the apprehension, but the CIC vetted the business plan and it looks good.

“The enterprise looking to go in is a viable business and could be a good investment,” he said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.



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